My original paper criticized a collection of essays on church growth in the United Kingdom for presenting case studies of growing congregations as refutation of the sociological secularization thesis. It argued that pockets of growth within overall decline could only refute the thesis if it required that the decline of interest in the churches be universal, even, and rapid, which it does not. David Goodhew has responded to that critique by re-stating his case and elaborating some examples. This paper clarifies the key point at issue by stressing the need for comprehensive rather than illustrative and selective evidence of religious behavior.
- church growth
- United Kingdom